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SL Green gets ready to change East Midtown forever

SL Green got the go-ahead to build its 63-story One Vanderbilt office tower yesterday (Wednesday)  and pave the way for a 21st century  East Midtown makeover.

Work will start immediately on the milestone One Vanderbilt.  Rendering:KPF
Work will start immediately on the milestone One Vanderbilt. Rendering:KPF

By a unanimous vote, New York City Council voted in favor of the proposal to rezone a five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue, which sits west of Grand Central Terminal., allowing the city’s biggest landlord to start construction immediately.

“It is time to unlock the economic development potential in East Midtown,” said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick, who led a working group that helped hammer out a deal not only for the gleaming new skyscraper, but for a plethora of upgrades to infrastructure aimed at easing pedestrian congestion and speeding up rail connections.

“The area has gotten stuck in outdated rules, and has lost some of its competitiveness over time,” added Garodnick. “ That is going to change today, starting with the Vanderbilt Corridor – where we will open the door to additional density in exchange for much needed improvements to our transit system.

“We have struck a much better deal for the public, and we will start seeing real benefits to Grand Central in the near term, even before a single new building is occupied.”

Dan Garodnick
Dan Garodnick

Marc Holliday, CEO of SL Green Realty Corp, said the tower – to be anchored by TD Bank – will be one to be proud of.

“Featuring world-class architecture, pioneering sustainability standards, and modern flexible floor-plates that global companies demand, One Vanderbilt will usher in an exciting new era for East Midtown,” said Holliday.

“One Vanderbilt will deliver critically-needed, state-of-the-art Class A office space and dramatically upgrade Grand Central’s aging, over-burdened transit infrastructure.

“ As the largest owner of commercial property in New York City, we are proud to set a new standard for unsubsidized commercial development and create a blueprint for a truly 21st-century Midtown Manhattan.”


The 63-story skyscraper will be 1,501 feet tall and contain 1.6 million square feet of Class A commercial space.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), its architecture and building materials pay homage to the landmarked Terminal and the surrounding East Midtown business district. One Vanderbilt features open floor plans, efficient use of space, and the highest level of sustainable design in New York City.

TD Bank will occupy  approximately 200,000 s/f of space in One Vanderbilt, including a flagship retail store on the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Madison Avenue.

The tower is projected to create 5,200 construction jobs and 190 permanent union jobs , double the number of workers employed on the block, and generate $50 million in annual tax revenues for the city.

The base of the new tower
The base of the new tower

SL Green will invest an unprecedented $220 million in public infrastructure, constructing new, direct subway access points and circulation areas, easing platform and mezzanine crowding and allowing trains to move more quickly through the station at peak hours.

Approximately two thirds of the money will go to enhancing connections and circulation spaces along the Lexington Avenue 4/5/6 subway line. One Vanderbilt will also create direct subgrade connections to Long Island Railroad East Side Access, Metro North and New York City Transit subway lines.

The MTA’s East Side Access project, which will bring Long Island Rail Road customers to East Midtown, is under construction below the Vanderbilt corridor, with the station terminating directly below One Vanderbilt.

There will be a grand three-story, light and air-filled public transit entrance on 42nd Street at the base of One Vanderbilt .

Under the agreement, SL Green will create a new public plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue adjacent to the Terminal as well as two transit halls at the base of the tower.

The full package of improvements is projected to be finished by 2021, concurrently with the completion of the building.

“Thank you to our partners in government for their leadership in helping make One Vanderbilt a reality, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, City Planning Chair Carl Weisbrod, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the entire New York City Council,” said Holliday.

“Thank you also to our dedicated partners at the Coalition for a Better Grand Central – together we will deliver East Midtown’s newest commercial skyscraper and create a better Grand Central for everyone.”

Unprecedented private spending will ease commuter congestion.
Unprecedented private spending will ease commuter congestion.


The Council’s vote was the final step in this rezoning, and the first step in the rezoning of the Greater East Midtown area.

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